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Yearbook Of The…20th Century?

Former Carey High School teacher one of the first to create video yearbooks

Bob Walpole did it to raise money for Carey High School athletics decades ago. He’d lug his trusty camera around the hallways of the 230 Poppy Avenue teaching ground, documenting students to give them something to watch years later with family and friends: a video yearbook. Walpole just wanted to help, but what he would learn decades later is he may have been the first anywhere to do such a thing.

The former high school gym teacher may be one of the first ever to create video yearbooks, something that’s become a staple with the ever-growing area of video technology. Walpole’s first visual scrapbook rolled on screens in 1983.

Walpole, 69, said a former student called him up in 2008 looking for a tape of the 1988 graduation to play as background visuals for her upcoming class reunion. After a Google search by his daughter Karen, she found that no video yearbooks were created in the U.S. until 1985, and in Germany in 1987. 

 “I called up the New York Public Library and had the lady research it for me,” he said. “She didn’t find anything earlier than my video.”

Walpole worked at Carey from 1967-99. He attended at Penn State University from 1961-65.

“My wife and I had four children so I was trying save up some money and what I did was I started taping weddings and softball games for bars,” Walpole said. “I would take the recordings back to the bars and show them the games and I would make money like that.”

One would figure that a company like Jostens may have cracked the moving-yearbook code first, but according to Library of Congress and New York Public Library representatives, the earliest video yearbook produced in the United States other than Walpole’s was in Concord, MA in 1985. Other early advents of video yearbooks include Iowa City High School and Long Island schools such as Division Avenue, South Side, Lawrence and Massapequa in the late 1980s.

Paul Friedman in the General Research Division of the NYPL managed to dig up old newspapers articles dating back to 1985 from the Los Angeles Times, New York Times and the Chicago Tribune. The articles mention video yearbooks in Pennsylvania and California in 1982 and 1981. Though Walpole may not have been the first, he certainly was ahead of the curve in terms of foresight into the future that is the technology age.  

Walpole credited his video-editing prowess to Norm Hosler, who helped him splice a co-worker’s son’s wedding video in the AV department at Carey. Hosler died in 2008. He worked on Broadway and pioneered the first interclass communications program dubbed ALERT, at the high school.

“It dawned on me that it would be pretty cool to make a video yearbook,” Walpole said while working on wedding videos. “At that time, you didn’t need release statements. Nowadays you can’t take a picture in the hallway without getting one. I checked with the superintendent, principal and checked with the main administrative officers and they gave the go-ahead.”

Walpole called Hosler a “genius” and commended the former Carey AV expert and his eye for the screen.

“He was a great man,” said Walpole. “He helped me a lot.”

From prom, to football games, barbecues and hallway interaction, Walpole would scour the corners of Carey to make the transition of seniors that much sweeter. Adding music to the video was his finishing touch.

“I would sell them on graduation day at the end of the year and take all that money throw it back into the athletic programs,” Walpole stated.

In 1983, a novelty at best according to Walpole, he sold about 40 tapes. The following year saw more than 100 videos sold, and it skyrocketed graduation upon graduation.

Walpole’s interest in videotape sparked from his brother-in-law Dave Flaherty, who worked for Pfizer as manager of training and development. He brought home a reel-to-reel video recorder he used as a teaching tool and taped the family and watched it on the TV.

“A number of years later, cartridges were invented and I got hooked into that,” Walpole said. “Because I was involved in coaching and I was in the hallways and I had kids in class all the time, I thought [video yearbooks] would be a good idea.”

In 1986, he started taping the first day seventh-graders walked onto the campus and would hold the tape under lock and key until they graduated. Walpole created a then-and-now segment, showcasing students’ days as youngsters, followed by their time as seniors at Carey.

“I would never show them the tape until six years later when they graduated,” he said. “That was a favorite among the students.”

Audio/Visual Clerk Barbara Priester also aided Walpole. A number of years into his video chronicles, he attained her expertise.

Priester, an advisor for a stage crew, organizes theater plays at Carey and Walpole would tape segments, which were edited into the end-of-the-year video. She would procure video units for him during his video yearbook adventures.

“It was always very exciting because [Robert] was just so into what he was doing,” she said. “He put so much time and effort into it.”

Walpole hung up his reel-to-reel shoes in 1999 when he retired.


News

At the July 18 meeting of the Herricks Board of Education, the school district addressed a recent response by the State Education Department (SED) in regards to a recent hot-button topic that has many parents, students, and teachers alike up in arms—the rapid and stressful increase in state assessment testing.

 

Superintendent of Schools Dr. John Bierwirth recently received an email from Assistant SED Commissioner Dr. Julia Rafal-Baer, addressing the concerns of both parents and school districts in New York regarding the great deal of stress that many students have been put under as a result of what many have referred to “excessive state testing.” 

 

Many parents and school administrators argue these rob children of valuable classroom learning time in favor of multiple standardized assessment exams designed to gauge teacher performance, and

Rafal-Baer’s email acknowledged the difficulties that many students have been undergoing since the testing was implemented last year. 

The Sewanhaka Central High School District renewed Superintendent Dr. Ralph Ferrie’s contract for the next five years at a recent board meeting. Ferrie will receive no pay increase in 2014-15 at a $238,000 salary. The contract expires on June 30, 2019.

 

“You can’t get [work] done without a unanimous board,” Ferrie said. “This board took a leap of faith with the program plans for the district. We also have an excellent team [of administrators]. That’s an awesome team.”


Sports

The Sewanhaka Indians’ very talented lacrosse defenseman, Tyler Regnier, will be playing next season for the Division 1 Rutgers University Scarlet Knights.

 

Regnier started playing lacrosse as a third grader, when he played with the New Hyde Park Police Activity League, a youth lacrosse program.

 

“At first, I wasn’t too serious,” he said recently. “But I just stuck with it, a lot of training, a lot of travel and a lot of practice made it happen.”

Students at Charles Water Karate & Fitness in Williston Park received belt promotions after completing a series of extensive exams.

 

Graduates

From New Hyde Park:  Jonah Khorrami to brown belt, Isabella Castelli to purple belt.

 

From Mineola:  Alexandra Santos and Kayla Toal to, Kayla Toal yellow belt, Jason DeJesus to Yellow/White Belt.

 

From Williston Park:  Mario Lombardo to red belt, Daniel Melore to blue belt, Grayson Lee to yellow/white belt.

 

From Garden City:  Alexandra Delgais: to brown belt, Jake Delgais to yellow/white belt.

 

From Roslyn Heights:  Suhani Jain to red belt.  

 

From Uniondale:  Isiah McClean to yellow/white belt.



Calendar

15 Below - July 23

Page Turner - July 23

Hip Pickles - July 28


Columns

1959: The Year The Music Stopped Playing
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